It is said that a bad day at the fair is always better than a good day at work. For Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, those two ideas collided Saturday in Iowa.
Former President Donald J. Struggling to get Trump, Mr. DeSantis, who is looking to make his mark in the state’s first nomination race, experienced a series of moments — all beyond his control — that would be enough for any candidate. To question his place in the political universe, especially before coming face-to-face with the front-runner.
Ahead of an appearance on “Fair Conversations” with Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, the Florida governor shouted, “Be catchy, Ron!” A plane flew overhead with the banner. While it was not immediately clear who was responsible for the stunt, Mr. The joke is a reference to the advice given to DeSantis.
During the interview, protesters with cowbells and whistles tried to interrupt the conversation with Ms. Reynolds, who reminded the crowd that “Iowa is nice.” Several protesters were removed from the event by Iowa State Police, which took place behind the press area. For other candidates, Ms. Reynolds’ interviews were a safe haven, with softball questions and some unpredictable moments. Mr. Needless to say, that wasn’t the vibe DeSantis’ campaign team was hoping for.
Derek Torstensen of Minneapolis, Ms. He said he came up against DeSantis’ conversation with the Reynolds, some of whom are from Iowa. “I showed up because we need to stand up against transphobia and homophobia in America. He needs to go back to Florida,” she said.
As if that wasn’t enough, after Ms. Reynolds asked why the candidate could win in 2024, Mr. DeSantis’ microphone was briefly cut off. Then he hit the standard conclusion of his stump speech: “I’m doing the job.”
Speaking briefly to reporters outside the rides at the Iowa State Fair, Mr. Mr. DeSantis was accused of assaulting Ms. Reynolds. He also took the opportunity to criticize Trump. “She didn’t do anything to him,” said Mr. DeSantis said of Ms. Reynolds, who is neutral in the caucus. “But that’s the way he’s going about attacking one of the best governors in the country.”
With his wife, Casey, and three young children, Mr. DeSantis walked through the crowd of exhibitors to join Senator Joni Ernst and Rep. Zach Nunn of Iowa, a Republican, to sit down to flipping burgers and pork chops. Donning the red apron of the Iowa Pork Producers Association, he engaged in the retail politics demanded at a busy state fair.
But a standing group of Trump supporters chanted briefly, “We love Trump,” before being drowned out by a chorus of “America,” reflecting the divide in Iowa’s Republican electorate.
Trump supporters followed throughout the day to trumpet Mr Trump as “back-to-back Iowa champ” in 2016 and 2020. Trump certainly didn’t win the 2016 Iowa caucuses second to Ted Cruz. He never admitted defeat.
It seems the trolling wasn’t limited to the fairgrounds, as Trump’s team handed out anti-DeSantis fliers before his speech at Steer N Stein. Mr. As DeSantis finished flipping pork in a booth, Mr. Trump’s plane appeared overhead, circling the fairgrounds on what Iowa locals say is a bumpy runway to Des Moines International Airport.
Mr. through the State Fair. DeSantis’ tour exposed him to non-written interactions that his campaign usually avoids. Some shouted positive encouragement (“We love you, Governor!” “Get us, Ron!”) as he and his family walked by, to which Mr. DeSantis often responded with a smile or a wave.
Others – left and right – shouted “Failure!” They shouted and mocked him. “Fascist!” Or “DeSanctimonious” (Mr. Trump’s favorite insult), which Mr. DeSantis was ignored. A woman carrying her young daughter on her shoulder fired a gun at him.
All the while, Mr. DeSantis’ family, his wife, Casey, and children (Madison, 6, Mason, 5, and Mamie, 3) have won prizes in fair games, including a milk jug toss and balloon popping. They carried at least two giant pikachu stuffed animals and a giant koala.
At least the kids had a good time.
Anjali Huynh Contributed report.